tv PBS News Hour PBS November 15, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: israel stepped up its military offensive in gaza today and hamas rockets targeted tel aviv in day two of a growing middle east conflict. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the war which has claimed civilian deaths on both sides. >> brown: then, b.p. admits to felony charges and agrees to pay
the largest single criminal fine in u.s. history. we examine the legal resolution of the gulf coast spill, two years later. >> suarez: science correspondent miles o'brien asks an age old question. why do we sleep? the answer comes from an unlikely underwater source. >> no, you don't need more sleep? you're getting plenty of sleep right? are you getting plenty of sleep? yes. >> brown: china's new leader will head both the communi party andhe military. we assess the change at the top in beijing. >> suarez: and we close with the story of volunteers stepping up to help victims of hurricane sandy in the borough of queens in new york. >> there's people who have been without attention for a long time. some with, some without running water. definitely without power. you know, so as time goes, it gets worse. and i'm afraid if we don't like, really get this situation under control. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
brown: israel and the militant group hamas slid closer to all-out war today. the israelis blasted gaza with scores of air strikes, and the palestinians said 16 people were killed there. hamas and its allies fired more than 200 rockets and even struck as far away as tel aviv. three israelis were killed. we begin with this report by john ray of "independent television news." ( gunfire ) >> reporter: in gaza, gunfire and a thirst for revenge. thousands throng the streets for the funeral of a hamas leader killed by israel. the first death of this conflict but how many more will follow? the mood here is of great anger and defiance. militarily, hamas is no match for the israeli air force. but they say this ia death that must and will be avenged.
so, no ceasefire in sight, just a ceaseless barrage of rockets and missiles. and misery on both sides of the border. here, three israelis died when their home suffered a direct hit. israeli defenses have intercepted two dozen or more rockets. and israel's air force has stepped up its bombardment. it calls these precision strikes on terror targets-- weapons dumps and launch sites. but in crowded gaza, civilians are suffering too. there is no such thing as a war in which innocents escape. omar was just 11 months old, a happy and smiling boy, his mother says.
now, she is lost in grief, her son and her sister in law died when an israeli shell crashed through their roof and began an all consuming inferno. an older brother survived, no one in the family can bear to tell him what happened. >> we have rockets here, we have guns? around my place, we don't have any resistance. all of them is civilians. just civilians. >> reporter: tonight, palestinian rockets are reaching ever closer to israel's heart. sirens sounding over tel aviv, the biggest city. authorities have told residents to be ready to run to shelters. meanwhile israel is massing forces at the gaza border, their presence a warning to hamas and perhaps a statement of intent, too. >> suarez: after nightfall in the region, israeli planes carried out major raids across gaza city.
the skyline lit up with explosions from dozens of new air strikes. the israelis said they had targeted some 70 underground launching sites for hamas' medium-range rockets. but leaders of the militants maintained their defiance. hamas prime minister ismail haniyeh eulogized the group's military commander killed by the israelis yesterday. and, he vowed revenge. >> ( translated ): this noble blood will not be shed in vain, and this brave nation, which for more than a century has offered sacrificers, martyrs, leaders, p.o.w.s and wounded, we will never let their blood be shed in vain. it is impossible for this movement to let their blood be in vain. >> brown: meanwhile, the new islamist president of egypt mohamed morsi denounced the israelis. and his government asked the u.s. to press for an end to the offensive. but the obama administration lined up with the israelis. state department spokesman mark toner said the u.s. believes israel has the right to defend itself.
>> our position is clear that there's no justification for the violence that hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against israel. and the onus is on them to cease their rocket attacks so that this de-escalation can take place. >> suarez: earlier, i spoke with the israeli ambassador to the united states michael oren to discuss the latest developments. ambassador, what's the latest from tel aviv? where the strikes accurate? have missiles actually hit the ci and is anyone snurt >> thankfully nobody was hurt. the rockets struck in the greater tel aviv area. the alarms went off. the sirens, prime minister netanyahu was in the city at the time to a bomb shelter and now this simply means that 4.5 million israelis-- over half the population of the state of israel-- has come under rocket fire from terrorists within gaza
>> suarez: does this represent a significant of abilitys in the ran of pple who would shoot in israeli cities? >> well, certainly it represents an escalation in the fighting. we knew terrorists in gaza had iranian-supplied long-range missiles. our aircraft managed to neutralize a great number of those missiles. some were located in densely populated areas, in mosques, under schools and playgrounds. in one case, one of our pilots targeted one of those long-range missiles and aborted because he saw children playing in the vicinity and here you see the type of price we paid for trying to avert as much as possible civilian casualtie >> suarez: how does israel plan to respond to this attack? >> we have extensive intelligence on the deployment of terrorist rockets and other assets, other military stockpile arsenals, firing pits in the gaza strip. and, look, we've conducted more than 200 or tees, 200 aerial
attacks and there's been very minimal collateral damage. whatever civilian casualties have occurred we deeply regret. we're doing our best to avoid them but we're fighting against a terrorist group which is on the one hnd doing its be to kill our civilians and three of our civilians were killed last night and two children wounded, at the same time they're hiding behind their own civilians. that's the difference between a democratic state and a terrorist organization. >> suarez: you've talked about trying to minimize civilian casualties, you've talked about an aborted strike. in a place as densely populated as gaza, is it possible to minimize civilian casualties or are they just part of what's going to happen? >> it's difficult. and this is -- it is difficult, again, because we're dealing with hamas and other terrorist organizations who are literally using their own civilian population as human shields. they're putting these rockets in schools, in mosques, near hospitals, even in homes. we have pictures of rockets in homes because they not only have a military strategy, they have a
media strategy. they want pictures of civilian casualties to make the front page of newspapers around the world. we're doing our best to deny them that ability and through very surgical precision strikes to take out the rockets with whic these terrorts want to kill our civilians. >> suarez: can the tit for tat become endless? is there a point at which more attacks may not make your people safer and invite more counterattacks? >> there's no tit for tat here. prior to this operation, the pop you lags of southern israel, over a million people-- the equivalent of about 50 million americans-- were hudling in bomb shelters. think had been hit by close to 1,000 rockets. no government in the world could sustain and remain passive in the face of such outrageous aggssion for vry long. so israel demonstrated, i think, superhuman restraint for a long time until the situation become
intolerable and then it had to act. i think that the message had been given to hamas, it's been a strong message, i hope they specialize it and become down. >> suarez: there was an initial small callup of reservists followed by a much larger one. how should that be seen by the rest of the world? >> well, i hope it's being seen by hamas that we are willing to take any measure necessary to defend our citizens, whether in the air or on the ground and we are headaching e preparations to ensure those measures can be mounted if necessary again. we'll do everything we can to protect our citizens. >> suarez: is israel prepared to make the same kind of incursion into gaza strip that it did in 2009? >> we hope it won't come toll that. we hope these terrorist organizations will get the message and stand down. but, again, we are prepared to take those measures, difficult that they may be. we have a lot of skin in the game. i he sdmin thgame. iave
a son in the israeli army right now. the last thing we want to do is see this thing escalate. hamas has escalated. hamas has fired rockets at tel aviv. we want nothing more than peace to be restored to our citizens. >> suarez: ambassador oren, thanks for joining us. >> pleasure. >> brown: we had hoped to follow ray's interview with ambassador oren with an interview with hamas representative usamah hamdan. he had agreed to talk to us by telephone from qatar but cancelled late today. he did, however, defend hamas rocket attacks on israel, during an off-camera conversation with the "newshour" saying, "i think wheyou are facingan occupation, an armed occupation with air support and the best weapons made in the u.s.a. you do the best you can." we'll post more comments from him on our website this evening. you can view a slide show that captures the day's dramatic events in israel and gaza online. >> suarez: still to come on the "newshour": a day of reckoning of b.p., more than two years
after the oil spill; learning lessons about sleep from dolphins; tapping new leaders in china. and helping out after the storm. but first, the other news of the day, here's kwame holman. >> holman: former c.i.a. director david petraeus denied today he gave classified information to the woman he had an affair with, paula broadwell. he spoke to cnn. that came as the c.i.a. announced an "exploratory" investigation of petraeus' conduct. his relationship with broadwell came to light during an fbi investigation that began last summer. today, attorney general eric holder defended the bureau's decision not to alert president obama and congressional leaders. >> we made the determination as we were going through the matter that there was not a threat to national security. had we made the determination that a threat to national security existed, we would of course have made that known to the president and also to the appropriate members on the hill. >> holman: that investigation also has led to a pentagon probe
of the top u.s. commander in afghanistan-- marine general john allen. he's under scrutiny for extensive communications with a tampa, florida woman. allen has denied wrongdoing. defense secretarleon panetta said today no other senior military officials appear to be involved. he spoke during a trip to thailand. >> i'm not aware of any others that could be involved in this issue at the present time. obviously as this matter continues to be investigated both on capitol hill and by the inspector general, i'm sure we'll have to wait and see what additional factors are brought to our attention. >> holman: panetta now has ordered an ethics review for military officers. he said he's asked the joint chiefs of staff to re-examine the training of senior commanders, to avoid similar incidents in the future.
the 17-member nations of the eurozone have fallen back into recession for the first time in three years. from july to september the eurozone's economy contracted by a tenth of a percent. that was the second straight quarter of negative growth-- the technical definition of a recession. the netherlands saw its economy shrink the most by a dramatic 1.1%. on wall street today, stocks were down after major retailers issued disappointing forecasts and on news that first-time claims for jobless benefits hit an 18-month high. the dow jones industrial average lost 28 points to close at 12,542. the nasdaq fell nearly 10 points to close below 2837. the u.s. postal service reported today it lost nearly $16 billion in the fiscal year that ended in october. that's a record, and it's more than three times the losses of the previous year. much of the shortfall-- some $11
billion-- was in unpaid health benefits for future retirees. in response, postmaster general patrick donahoe called again for congress to pass a postal overhaul bill. the $23 billion global fund to fight aids, t.b. and malaria has fired its top internal watchdog citing unsatisfactory performance. hiofficead uncoved milons of dollars in financial losses. and, his reports had caused some groups to withhold donations. separately, the fund today named a new executive director, mark dybul. he served as global aids coordinator to president george w. bush. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to a major development in a story that grabbed the nation's attention for months in 2010, as oil giant b-p reached a settlement today in one part of its ongoing dispute with the federal government over the gulf coast spill. it's been two and a half years
sin the record oil spill that fouled the gulf of mexico for months and soiled miles of marshes and beaches. today, b.p. agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a settlement of criminal charges brought by the u.s. government. u.s. attorney general eric holder announced the deal in new orleans. >> i hope that this sends a clear message to those who would engage in this kind of reckless and wanton conduct that there will be a significant penalty to pay and that individuals in companies who are engaged in these kinds of activities will themselves be held responsible. this is simply not a corporate plea. individuals... individuals have been charged. >> brown: under the settlement, b.p. will pay $1.25 llion criminal fines-- the largest criminal penalty in u.s. history. another $2.4 billion will go for wildlife and coastal restoration. and the oil company will pay $500 million for misleading investors by under-estimating the size of the spill. b.p. also agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the 11 workers who died when the deepwater horizon rig exploded
in april of 2010. assistant attorney general lanny breuer: >> perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the deaths of the 11 men on board the deepwater horizon could have been avoided. we hope that today's acknowledgement by b.p. of its misconduct through its agreement to plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter brings some measure of justice to the family members of the people who dies on the rig. >> brown: breuer said the criminal investigation continues. and two b.p. well site leaders robert kaluza and donald vidrine were indicted on charges of negligence leading up to the explosion. a separate indictmentharged a b.p. vice president david rainey with obstructing congress and lying about how he calculated the rate of the spill. b.p. executives did not appear publicly today, but the company chairman said the settlement was in the best interest of b.p. and its stockholders. chief executive bob dudley issued a statement, saying:
>> brown: b.p. already agreed last march to pay an estimated $7.8 billion for property, economic and medical damages to some 100,000 individuals and businesses. a federal judge is still reviewing that agreement. and the company is facing other civil cases, which attorney general holder emphasized today will continue. the largest of those involve violations of the federal "clean water act" and could end up in fines totaling $21 billion. for more we're joined by john young, president of jefferson parish, louisiana, an area seriously impacted by the spill. andbrahlustgaen, a reporter at "pro-publica" and author of "run to failure: bp and the making of the deepwater horizon disaster." we asked both the department of justice and b.p. to join us. they declined our invitation.
john young, an initial reaction to today's settlement? >> well, it's the first major step, and let's not forget the 11 workers who lost their lives and their family members who lost loved ones but the fact that it's the largest criminal fine in u.s. history i think is apppriate inight of the fact that the b.p. oil disaster was the largest environmental disaster in u.s. history. but, again, it's just a first step. the civil awards and damages that need to be assessed again b.p. so that we're made whole down here in louisiana and in the entire gulf coast. >> brown: we'll come back to that but let me ask abrahm lustgarten of the criminal indictments in particular of the company as well as several individuals. >> yeah, i mean, i have to agree i think this is a very significant step and most signicant,n my opion,is the indictment of three senior b.p. managers. b.p.'s had a number of accidents
in the past and in both the gulf disaster and those past accidents what you hadn't seen until now is an individual held responsible. and that's something that can help create a culture of responsibility and consequence inside the organization. so without the a doubt, today's indictments of those three individuals sends a message not only to the public but i think to b.p.'s employees that they are responsible for the decisions that they maken b.ps operations around the world. >> brown: let me just stay with you for a moment. how do you see the calculation of the company in this? they made clear in their statement that they wanted to end some of the uncertainty surrounding the litigation but they also said they intend to continue fighting on the other civil charges. >> sure. well naturally b.p. wanted to put this behind them and today's settlement is a huge step? that direction. i've heard from sources for a long time that criminal charges of the prosecution was held up by b.p.'s desire to reachome
nd of global settlement that could essentially erase as many of these issues off the board in one fell swoop as possible. this is something they've done in the past after they had an oil spill in 2006 in alaska and a refinery explosioning in 2005 in texas city in which 15 workers died they saw a global settlement and they announced a press release that took care of everything all at once. it's the same nthere are issuesd costly issues but this is it seems just but also a huge accomplishment for b.p. today to put this behind it. >> brown: john young, what is your sense of the company's calculation here? and what has been your dealings and your sense of the company's behavior in the couple years afterwards. >> we've been very satisfied. b.p.'s going to make it right they say, but they have not done that. we continue to fight with b.p. for instance, hurricane isaac drew up a lot of oil that's been
unaccounted for and we're now having tar balls on the beach of grand isle and elmer's island and we're fighting with the coast guard to put pressure on b.p. to do what it's supposed to do under the clean water act so we continue to fight with b.p. and i they the other guests said is it's going to hold b.p. accountable. and it will send a message of not only to b.p. which has a history of reckless and wanton behavior and to other corporations. i think it's important to note as the assistance u.s. attorney general said in his opening comments that this action didn't have to happen but for the reckless and wanton negligence, this action would not have happened. you can have drilling in the gulf of mexico and you can have it done in a safe manner, but b.p. has a history of reckless and wanton actions and in this is what caused this disaster and they really have a lot more responsibility as we move forward with the assessment of
damage in terms of civil liability not only for individuals but for governments, for property damage, natural resource damages under the clean water and act nerda through the restore act. so this is far from over. it's significan step. we want to compliment the department of justice but, again at the end of the day this is just one significant step in a series of events that are going to have to come down and hold beep accountable for their actions. >>. >> brown: let me ask abrahm lustgarten, tell us more about that big step, especially potential violations of the clean water act. what has to be proven? what is the state of play on that? >> well, you'll see those civil suits go to trial in february of 2013 they've been delayed until now. the federal government and the states are both still suing the company both for general environmental damages and damages under the oil pollution control act. one of the stipulations of the
oil pollution control act is that the fine for the amount of oil spilled in the gulf is dramatically higher if gross negligence has been proven. and i think that's what happened today. it's not entirely clear that b.p. would pay as much as $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled. this is part of what the information delivered to congress during the spill about theate of owas s significant. so what you'll see now is going into this civil settlement. b.p. again will likely try to obviously settle for as little as they possibly can. they will settle for some amount i expect ultimately. it could be as high as $17 to $22 billion depending on the how the calculations are done. >> brown: john, you started to allude to it but i wanted you to update us on the situation there today. in what ways is your area and areas around you still feeling the lingering effects of all this? >> well, you know, the louisiana coast is not like the florida coast so it's easy to clean up
oil and beaches and we have marrslands and estuaries. we have still have a lot of oil in our marshes and estuaries. we had a u.s. senate hearing down here about a month and a half ago and the coast guard admitted they can't account for a lot of oil and that oil has been submerged in the gulf because of the dispersants that were used and then when hurricane isaac came around it churned up that. now we're having oil on our ach and b.p. befo hurricane isaac was wanting to sign out and say everything was fine. so certainly we continue to fight again with b.p. we continue to press the coast guard to make sure b.p. -- b.p. wants to say that their responsibility is over, they want to walk away from this, but it's far from over in terms of not only cleanup but in terms of assessing what the long-term effects are going to be as a result of this oil disaster and how it's going to affect our gulf coast. >> brown: let me ask mr. lustgarten briefly here at the end.
there are other cpanieshat were involved from the beginning nothing today affects them, right? where does that stand? >> no, nothing that's happened today has changed that interaction the courts have expressed an opinion so far that b.p. is the party that should be held primarily responsible for what happened in the gulf. there are lawsuits against those other companies and disputes between them. they're going to take a long time to iron themselves out in the courts but i think today's settlement, combined with the previous opinions eressedby the cots in louisiana make it pretty clear that b.p. is the primary party of responsibility. >> brown: abrahm lustgarten, john young, thank you both. >> thank you very much, have a good evening. >> suarez: find an updated timeline with all of our reporting starting in april 2010. you can still use our widget to calculate how much oil spilled into the gulf.
>> suarez: now, we turn to a story about the power of sleep and what it may do for you-- physically and intellectually. 's auestion researchers have long explored. "newshour" science correspondent miles o'brien gets a first-hand look at how some of our thinking on the subject may be changing. >> reporter: now this gives new meaning to the term power nap and i am fairly certain it's not the best way to dress for some rest, but this is what scientists-- actually their guinea pigs-- must do to try and answer a stubborn mystery: why do we sleep? >> the basic driving, evolutionary pressure for sleep is still a debate and i don't even know if we've discovered it yet. >> reporter: robert stickgold has as good a chance as anyone at finding the answer. he is a professor of psychiatry
at harvard medical school and a leading sleep researcher. >> in some level, you can summarize what we know about sleep functions now by saying that if you don't get enough sleep, you're going to end up fat, sick and stupid. that just feels like something my mothersed say to m >> reporter: but we have the science now to prove that? >> but now we have some science to say that that's really what's going on. >> reporter: stickgold's primary focus is on dreams and how they may make us smarter. his experiment begins with a video game. i was told to find my way through this maze as fast as i could several times. not my specialty and after a while i got a little, well, gamesick. but after working on this problem, it was time to get some rest. i didn't do that very well
either. i barely drifted off and when i tried my hand at the maze again, i was equally inept. but real subjects who fall fast asleep can get through the maze on average a minute faster after their nap and even better if they dreamed about it. >> it's really those who... who can be remembering and reporting dreaming about the tk. that seemed to be the ones who really show the biggest improvement. >> reporter: so if you mull it over in the dream, you'd come out way ahead. >> way ahead. and if you mull it over while you're just sitting there awake, you don't. >> reporter: when we sleep, our brains receive no outside input and that frees up circuits that stay busy when we are awake. so we actually have more bandwidth for problem-solving when we are conked out. >> it seems like the brain has evolved sleep, maybe specifically for this purpose of giving it a chance to look at
recently learned information and understand it differently. >> reporter: could this be the main reason we sleep? >> it could be one of the main reasons. >> reporter: but these killer whales may suggest dr. stickgold is all wet. u.c.l.a. psychiatry professor jerry siegel-- also a top sleep researche-- began studying them sea world in 2001. siegels colleagues watched the newborn for weeks and weeks and he never went to sleep. not a wink. the longest any human has ever been awake is 11 to 12 days, and it's a major task for them to stay up for that long and also to let things start to happen. but here you have an animal as part of its normal lifespan being continuously active for a month and you know, perfectly healthy and growing. this got dr. siegel thinking
about the other star attractions here. he wondered if dolphins might have the same sleep pattern. sure enough, he and his team learned the newborns stay awake for weeks. and when they do get some rest, dolphins sleep hemispherically, meaning on only one side of the brain at a time, allowing them to stay conscious and keep moving. >> reporter: so, they're mammals. they're smart mammals with a big brain. this idea that somehow sleep allows us to reboot our brains would suggest that the bigger the brain, the more you need sleep. >> right. >> reporter: not so. >> right and that's a surprising observation but its clearly the case. >> reporter: consider brown bats, not so brainy, and yet they log 20 hours of sleep a day, while elephants, with their large brains that never forget, sleep only our hours. but the bats can gorge on a insect meals at dusk, while elephants graze for hours on end.
maybe young dolphins and whales remain awake because they are particularly vulnerable to predators and marine mammals have to make a conscious effort to surface for air. sleep is just too risky. >> it's highly maladaptive for most animals under most conditions to be active 24 hours a day assuming they can satisfy their vital needs in less time than that, but it... >> reporter: in other words, it doesn't pay to stay up around the clock. >> right. i think rather than saying, waking is good, you have to really say, both waking and sleep are good. >> reporter: so if sleep gives us a competitive edge, makes us smarter, or both, what happens if we don't get enough. >> it's not just memories that are affected. if you only get four hours of
sleep at night, the amount of antibodies you produce against bacteria, against viruses, is dramatically reduced. your ability to process food is altered, so that you have a greater hunger the next day, you start to look pre-diabetic, you will start to put on weight. we do not know how much of the obesity epidemic were seeing in this country is in fact due to restricted sleep in the population nowadays. there are cardiovascular implications for it. >> reporter: so there is no way that we can train ourselves to cram in the benefits of sleep into the proverbial eight-hour of sleep in the six-hour bag. >> trying to get eight hours of sleep from a six-hour night is like trying to get 2,000 lories out of a thousand- calorie meal by eating eat faster. it just won't work. i'm sorry. >> reporter: oh, come on. there has got to be a way.
and that is what brought me here to a yoga class in santa monica. yoga instructor jerome mercier gave me a lesson in the art of meditation. so, how does meditation compare to slee is there any-- are there any similarities or is it kind of the opposite of sleep in a way? >> i would say it's the opposite of sleeping because the mind is uncontrollable and the sleep which explains the crazy dreams that we might have and its hyper active mind i think. when in meditation, the mind is really on pause. >> reporter: i got to say for somebody like me who has a busy
mind it's hard just to stop, isn't it? >> it is really hard to stop the mind to have task, but you have to stay somewhere in order to understand how you think and what life is really about. >> reporter: at the university of wisconsin, psychology professor richie davidson studies the minds of the best mediators on the planet, including many tibetan monks. he has scanned their brains while they were practicing so called compassionate meditation a theconstently emit unusually large amounts of high frequency gamma waves, linked to learning and brain plasticity. >> the mind of a mediator, you can think of as like a very still lake which doesn't have a lot of mind-wandering. it doesn't have a lot of rumination so that when a stimulus occurs, it will be very well prepared to be attentive to it. >> reporter: so maybe we can evolve our way into needing less sleep.
maybe. is it possible we could be in the process of shrinking our sleep time in an evolutionary sense if we could come back a million years from now we wouldn't be sleeping at all? >> sure, it's possible that in a few million years, if there is still humans around, we will sleep less or it maybe that we will decide that we enjoy sleeping and since we can accomplish all our vital tasks in less time as we come more and more efficient with mor electronic gadgets in a higr clerk density food, we may decide that the thing to do is sleep more. >> reporter: in the meantime, maybe we should all take some lessons from the masters. ok, coco, let's take a nap, shall we? i've never slept with a dolphin before. you are beautiful. can i get your number?
>> brown: miles wrote a column wrapping up his reporting on sleep patterns. plus you can watch out-takes of im swimming with theolphins. find those on our home page. >> suarez: next, china unveiled its new leadership today as the communist party congress wrapped up. lindsey hilsum of independent television news begins our coverage with this report from beijing. >> the magnificent seven, china's new leaders, parading in front of chinese and international media this morning. the new secretary-general of the marty, x jinping, struck a surprisingly relaxed tone, his words translated. >> ladies and gentlemen, friends good morning. sorry to have kept you waiting. >> reporter: amongst the platitudes, a frank
acknowledgment of why so many chinese are fed up with the communist party. >> ( translated ): in the new environment, our party faces many severe challenges and there are many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved. th problems among the party members and card res of corruption taking bribes, being out of touch with the people, undue emphasis on formalities and bureaucracy must be addressed with great effort:. >> ( translated ): -- >> reporter: we know only a little about xi. he's the son of a communist party hero. his daughter is at harvard and his wife is a famous singer. she holds a rank in the people's liberation army equivalent to major genal but has disappeared from view since her husband was picked for the top. the other five on stage today are a conservative lot,
reformers lost out in this reshuffle. this man studied economics in north korea. the man on the right has been in charge of propaganda and censorship. yesterday the politburo voted to include in their constitution outgoing president hu jintao's theory of scientific development. all in favor? anyone against? no one. no one. it's a show. important decisions like who will be leader are stitched up behind closed doors. the 18th party congress is over now. it felt like living history, not the 21st century. the new president, xi jinping, spoke of being one heart and mind with the people. but that's the problem. the secretive rituals of communism seem so olded fashioned,o far removed from the reality of people's everyday
lives here. both from the dynamic parts of the economy to the countryside where people feel they're being left behind. the new leadership has to address rural anger about polluted waterways, corruption, and the growing gap between rich and poor. in the cities where china's economic boom is on display, people are busy shopping. they don't seem to have much interest in their new leader, x jinping. >> ( translated ): i don't know much about him. just a tiny bit, really. >> ( translated ): i know he's worked in the province but nothing else. >> reporter: china today is neither dictatorship nor democracy. the new leaders are meant to rule collectively. none have the charisma or ruthlessness of the past. they talk of reform but with have one aim, to ensure that whatever happens the party remains in power.
>> brown: for more on china's new leaders, we turn to christopher johnson. hhad a two dede ceeat the c.i.a. as a china analyst and is now at the center for strategic and international studies, a washington think tank. so we now know the new group of leaders. any surprises in that? >> no, i don't think there were. we saw this list had been circulated, this more conservative list, circulated a couple weeks ago so it came out exactly as it had been predicted. it is unfortunate that these more reform oriented people didn't make the list but we knew in advance who was going to show up. >> brown: what does "conservative" and "reform" mean in today's china vis-a-vis the government and the party? >> it's important to emphasize these people deemed as more conservative are not somehow orthodox hard liners. these people believe in the reform process that dung chao peng launched 30 years ago. so it's a much more of a degree of reform, not which reform should be pursued. and what are we talking about is should the party be pursuing a
next wave of political reform? >> brown: as to xi jinping himself he was critical of the party, talking about couption, taking describes, being out of touch with people is that unusual? >> it is. in the past when we've seen these introductory things it's been a lot of communist speak and we saw this in the whole tone of his 18th party congress. much more self-reflection on the part of the party because of these scandals that have been rocking the party. >> brown: you do think it's because of that? >> absolutely. both the one case where we had a politburo member's wife involved in murdering a foreign citizen then disclosures about the massive amounts of wealth the families of these senior leaders as noted in the piece have been compiled >> brown: there's a sense that all of that has forced the leadership to open up a bit? at least address these things? >> to begin thinking about it and signaling the public they're serious about these issues and trying to create a more balanced economy and country. >> brown: remind us what we do
and don't know about xi jinping. we heard little that we know about his background, son of a revolutionary leader, daughter at harvard and the celebrity life. what else do we know? >> that's pretty much it. they're very careful about how they do these things. we know whe he's served in the past and he's been primarily in the coastal regions, which are the more developed regions of china but he had experience during the cultural revolution. he was one of the so-called sent down youth where he worked in a rural community so he's seen as somebody that despite that privileged background, being a princeling, the son of people who refounded the regime, he understands the people of china quite well. we don't know what his policy views are toward the united states, how much reform he might support. >> reporter:. >> brown: i noticed you used the word princeling. several of the n leaders are in that category. so it's clearly a generational change happening? >> quite so. during the previous generation when deng xiaoping and his ilk
were running the top leadership, one of the key problems in the teenmen demonstrations in 1989 was popular anger about these activities of these princelings so for a long time there was a ban on seeing these people promoted to too high within the system. that was removed by jiang zemin and we've seen them come into the fore. one of the reasons why they're favord is they're seen as defending the party. being from the people who foded the party, they will defend it most strongly. >> brown: one of the questions going in here had been whether the new leader would be health of both the party and the military. that seems to have been settled. if is that significant? >> it's very significant. it's very helpful for xi jinping. it allows him to be fully empowered coming into power. for hu jintao, the previous president, they had an aborted transition where the previous president jiang zemin stayed in the military chair. this created confusion in the system as to what who was in charge. this way xi jinping will be lly'm power today start moving ahead with his own policy direction.
>> brown: that's the next question. what is that? especially vis-a-vis the u.s. what kinds of things would be on the table that might impact the long-term relationship? >> i they will be going on is a struggle between his own inclinations and the pressures that we've been seeing developing in china because his daughter is in harvard, because he's visited the united states, in february he visited he made clear he has positive feelings towards the united states and wants to maintain a stable bilateral relationship. we've seen the increase of these nationalist voices as china's status has risen and they're calling for the new leadership not to be seen as caving to u.s. pressure. and so she is going to have to find that balance between his own natural inclinations to have a good relationship and these pressures he's facing within. >> brown: where do those pressures come from and how strong are they? >> quite strong. it's a combination of factors. one the one that everyone points so the military and the increasing voice of the chinese military. this is often overdrown,
however, in my opinion. they are an influential acto within thsystem. they've been modernizing their military and they have strong views on these territorial issues such as island disputes and so on. the bigger factor has been the nationalism among the common public that the party itself has unleashed in an effort to legitimize wits the fall of communist ideology. >> brown: there any question about his power or the power of this standing committee? that's clear and well establish sfld >> it's settled. they are the new rulers of china. because of the way the selection process took place he's going to have to give some face to these pvious rulers but he's been given a straight power endowment here and we'll see him using that going forward. >> brown: christopher johnson, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> brown: on line we have a who's who in china's new government. that's on the rundown. >> suarez: finally tonight, trying to recover from hurricane sandy. president obama saw first-hand some of the worst damage in new
york city today. he toured through several hard- hit areas and met with residents in line for aid at an emergency center. the president said federal help will be available to people for as long as it's needed. >> there's going to be some long term rebuilding required. you look at this block and you know that this is a community that is deeply rooted. most of the folks i met here have been here 20,30, 50 years. they don't want to see their community uprooted but there's got to be a plan for rebuilding. and that plan is going to have to be coordinated and it's going to need resources. >> suarez: another one of the neighborhoods that was on the president's radar today was in new york city, and it faces a long road back. it's also a place where volunteers are playing an increasingly important role in assisting residents. as we learned with the help of producer jonathan silvers in new york.
>> reporter: a new citizens group has risen from the ruins of hurricane sandy on the streets of brooklyn, queens and long island. it's called occupy sandy and it's offering help for the many whose homes and lives were upended in the storm. the freewheeling effort is in the same vein as occupy wall street which gained fame last year protesting economic inequality. but this movement focuses more on practical assistance. volunteers have worked around the clock at st. jacobi lutheran church to gather food, supplies and clothing and to secure nightly shelter for victims of the historic storm that killed more than 100 people along the east coast. scholomo adam roth-- normally a real estate agent-- is helping to coordinate occupy sandy's efforts. he says nowhere is assistance needed more than in the rockaways-- a sprawling peninsula of long island nestled within the queens borough of new york. >> it's serious. in the rockways, where i spend much of my time, and... there's people who have been
without attention for a long time. some with, some without running water. definitely without power. you know, so as time goes, it gets worse. and i'm afraid if we don't like, really get this situation under control. you know, who knows what we're going to start finding when we knock on doors. >> reporter: the area seen in these photos taken just days ago is so devastated that utility officials have said it's not possible to restore power yet. the area is home to fifty thousand people, most of them middle and lower income families. volunteers from occupy sandy are here in force, along with police and the national guard. but some residents complain that representatives from government agencies like fema are scarce. eva bennick moved to a new home here eight years ago. she applied for assistance but was told on the phone her application was missing. >> they had lost the application. she found my application, she said okay, it looks like it fell through the process. i don't understand why anybody' been out there yet. nobody's been out there yet. i said, well that makes two of
us. i've got to tell you the first time where we've felt like we've ever needed help. first time. and just feel like, you know, fema's supposed to be it. everybody, like my insurance company says call fema. yeah, everbody asks me that. did you call fema. i'm like, yeah. what happened? nothing. that sucks. it... it just sucks. >> reporter: fema officials contend they are responding as best they can. but because of the sheer magnitude of the work, fema official robert jensen admits someresints will be disappointed. >> this is hard. this is one of the biggest natural disasters to hit america. certainly understandable that people are going to be frustrated and be upset on some of the challenges they're facing. we feel that. we understand that. >> reporter: fema is working with the city's office of emergency management, and they've been on the job since october 26, four days before the hurricane hit. city, state and federal officials are now coordinating
recovery and relief operations. there are more than a hundred people in the operaons ceer at any time and another 20,000 government employees and contractors on the ground. >> the way fema works is... is, we're not the whole team. we don't do anything autonomously. we do it in coordination with the state, and obviously we're coordinating very closely with the local officials as well. >> reporter: jensen says some government workers manning operations lost their homes too and know full well what's at stake. >> i've been out there and i've talked to survivors. it's pretty emotional. many of these people have lost everything. and that vision in my mind of-of some of the people i've met will never go away, and it's what... what makes it so important that we keep doing everything we can- - we spend, you know, every bit of our energy to finding solutions. >> reporter: eva bennick is still hoping to hear from fema. >> and so you have this sort of information vacuum and i thought it was very interesting that on the third day, the daily news
was able to deliver my newspaper to my front porch, but fema can't find me. amazing. >> reporter: while she waits, the volunteers from occupy sandy are filling the gap. >> you know, it could be close to 10,000 people that have been, you know, martialed as individuals and as autonomous individuals and groups, but under one sort of, like, organizational structure so that they, we could, you know, meet some of those needs that were arising after the storm. >> reporter: the area is getting more attention today. the president took a helicopter tour of staten island and the rockaways this afternoon. >> brown: and the president offered some additional help today, appointing his housing and urban affairs secretary, shaun donovan to coordinate the long-term rebuilding efforts in new york and new jersey. again, the major developments of the day: israel stepped up its military offensive in gaza and hamas rockets targeted tel aviv in day two of a growing middle east conflict. oil giant b.p. agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay a record $4.5 billion for the gulf oil spill of 2010.
it was all part of a settlement with the federal government. and former c.i.a. director david petraeus denied he gave classified information to the woman he had an affair with, paula broadwell. he spoke to cnn, in his first remarks since resigning last iday. >> brown: online we look at this year's national book award winners. kwame holman tells us more. >> holman: louise erdrick was honored with the fiction prize for "the round house." she talked with jeff about her novel recently. watch that interview on art beat. also there are conversations with finalists robert caro, kevin powers and junot diaz, and a recap of the winners. and how does your view of the 2012 election results compare with others around the country? together with the pew research center, we've built an election report card-- you can take the quiand share with friends. hari sreenivasan talked with pew's andrew kohut. and we examine the complex relationship between turkey and syria.
margaret warner is in the region and reports from refugee camps on both sides of the border. all that and more is on our web site newshour.pbs.org. ray? >> suarez: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm ray suarez. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with david brooks and ruth marcus among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contrutions to ur pbs station fr viewers le you.